A painting of a frog drowning in the river.

The Scorpion & the Frog (Russian Fable)

The Scorpion and the Frog is a modern Russian fable, originally appearing in the 1933 Russian novel, The German Quarter by Lev Nitoburg. It seems to be based on the fable of The Scorpion and the Turtle, found in the Anvaar Soheili, a collection of fables written around 1500 by the Persian scholar Husayn Kashifi. This retelling is in my own words.

Slashes made by an enraged barbarian fabulist.

Once upon a time, a scorpion came to the edge of a swift river he needed to cross. Not being a good swimmer, he asked a nearby frog if he might hitch a ride on the frog’s back.

The frog eyed the scorpion warily and replied, “But how do I know you won’t sting me?”

“Why would I do that?” the scorpion reasoned. “If I sting you, we would both drown.”

Finding the scorpion’s logic sound, the frog agreed to carry the scorpion across the river. As they were halfway across, the scorpion suddenly stung the frog.

As he sunk to his death, the frog cried out, “Why did you sting me? You have killed us both!”

The scorpion replied, “I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.”

This reminds me of another famous Russian fable about a monkey and his peas.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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